Saturday, December 1, 2012

Anniversary Cruise! St. Thomas

Arriving in St. Thomas
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We sailed to St. Thomas, arriving early in the morning. We had breakfast at the buffet, and then we went ashore to explore.

Let me just say, I was looking forward to Charlotte Amalie! I remember it fondly from our younger days as a charming place with great shops and boutiques, and there were palm-frond-roofed, little open-air huts on the waterfront where you could enjoy a frozen daiquiri (strawberry, banana, and lots of other flavors) while watching sailboats and cruise ships in the harbor. The last time I saw the SS Homeric (on which I sailed with my family as a child), it was anchored at Charlotte Amalie. I remember, also, flying to St. Thomas in a little three-seater tin can, managing a landing – and, even scarier, a subsequent take-off – at the airport. But that's another story.

Charlotte Amalie
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
The shops are still there, lots of them, but it's different, somehow. Well, of course it is. It's been years and years. For one thing, the little huts are gone, and the town is built up. There went my plan to sit by the water, enjoying one of those frozen daiquiris. The weather being very hot and sticky; it would have been so nice!

In Charlotte Amalie
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
On the bright side, I won that shopping club book, remember? So I shopped! I went to all the stores with a freebie and collected those, along with a Del Sol tote bag (They are fun, because they “colorize” in the sun). Shall I use it as a grocery bag? Maybe. Or not. [I'm actually using it as a yarn bag for my numerous projects. Works great!]

So, we got off the ship and took an open-air “taxi” (open-sided seating for 12 with a canopy on a chassis that must be a pick-up truck, as it had a club-cab front). It was $4 each to downtown, where we did the aforementioned shopping.

It was hot.
Photo by innocent bystander.
All rights reserved.
Then, we decided to walk to the famous sky ride to enjoy a beautiful, panoramic view. Zowie – it was hot, hot, hot and muggy, muggy, muggy in the tram on the way up to Paradise Point. I thought I was going to pass out. Just as we got to the top of the sky-ride and were about to disembark, the sky clouded over. The view was still spectacular! At the top, overlooking the beautiful harbor and picturesque city, I enjoyed that frozen strawberry daiquiri, and Harry had a Pina Colada. And so, you see, all was not lost.

When vacationing,
be sure to take every
opportunity to be a goofball.
It adds to the enjoyment!
Photo by Harry
All rights reserved.
We opted to get a ride back to the ship from the sky ride, as I did not want to walk the two miles back to town, much less four miles back to the ship. These distances are approximate, based upon my perception, which may have been clouded a bit by the heat and humidity. On the other hand, they may be entirely accurate. $5 each, and worth every penny.

Handsome fella!
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Back at the dock, we took some shots of iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks. They were everywhere, smiling – well, they looked like they were smiling, anyway. Such happy creatures to observe.

Back on board, Harry opted for a short nap, while I went to the hot tub at the Sanctuary pool area (adults only at this particular pool area). nice it was! Hardly anybody was there, and it was peaceful and quiet. Just what I needed. Note to self: Do this again!

Tea is served every afternoon in one of the dining rooms, and so we went to tea, where we met a very nice couple from St. Kitts. They're English, but they moved there a year ago from Indiana, where the gentleman was a professor of veterinary medicine at Purdue. Our political views were quite opposite, and I was very proud of the fact that my husband was able to be rather pleasant, anyway! We got on very well, actually, and only noticed we were the last ones in the dining room because the staff started locking up. You meet the nicest people on cruise ships.

Note to Bob: They said the diving and snorkeling are fabulous at St. Kitts!

Another handsome fella!
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
Tonight was “formal night.” You don't have to get all dressed up, but it's fun, so why not go along with it and have a good time? Most everyone participated, and what a good-looking bunch they all were. [If you're hoping for a hair appointment or a mani/pedi for formal night, you'd better schedule it ahead of time, before boarding the ship. Just sayin'.]

We were a little concerned when our table mates didn't come and didn't come; but, then, there they were, and very friendly and chatty, too, which was awfully nice and a great improvement over last night. So, it must have been that they were tired from the travel.

Here's what we ate. I know you can't wait to find out: I started with a shrimp cocktail, followed by asparagus soup, Caesar salad, beef tenderloins, and “anniversary” cake. If you're celebrating a special day while on the cruise – or you're on the cruise because of a special day – you can pre-order this wonderful dessert. It's complimentary, which is nice. Said cake was so decadent, a person really should only eat a bit or two, especially after such a wonderful meal. But I ate the whole thing anyway, planning to compensate with a few extra trips up and down the "stairmaster." Harry had crab quiche for an appetizer, then the asparagus soup, followed by the beef tenderloins.

A third couple joined us at the table this evening, a very attractive couple from Carolina, Puerto Rico. They are in their 30's and have two children, a boy and a girl. He speaks a little English, but she doesn't speak English at all. I am wondering why the cruise line would partner them with two not-quite-as-young couples, neither of which speaks Spanish, when there are quite a large percentage of Spanish-speaking folks on board? They seemed quite ill-at-ease, though we did our very best to engage them in conversation. The table is quite large and would easily fit eight instead of the six spaces allotted, so it's difficult to converse across it. I hope the young couple will come back tomorrow night, as they are really quite charming. It's just too bad our conversation had to be so basic.

The show tonight in the main theater was a song-and-dance extravaganza called, “Do You Wanna Dance?” I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't Harry's cup of tea. After that, we went to the lounge for “Fernandez,” a hypnotist act. He was amazing! And the volunteers were a stitch, especially one young man whose “job” it was to keep the noise level “Chinese.” Very politically incorrect, and I'm pretty sure any Asians in the crowd might have found it offensive. But he was so intense and sincere and hilarious. It would have been difficult to not forgive him.

Tomorrow: Dominica!
Leaving St. Thomas.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.

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